Douglas Lynch: Total Silence

Douglas Lynch became deaf at the age of 26 from an inner ear disease. He received his cochlear implant when he was 28. He later became a spokesman for Advanced Bionics in Sylmar, Calif., which made the cochlear implant he wears.

Q. What was it like to hear again?

A. It was the most profound experience I could ever imagine and one that is almost impossible to decribe.

I went from just complete and total silence and isolation to in an instant being just turned back onto life in all the vibrance of sound where really in one minute, I heard nothing at all and then once the device was programmed, I was able to hear my wife's voice for the first time in a very very long time. I was able to communicate without having to ask people to write things down on notepaper.

Q. How did your family and friends react to your being able to hear again?

Lynch with a family friend.
A. It was really quite remarkable to be thrust back into the vibrance of life and being able to hear again. I remember the first day when I was hearing again how wonderful that was.

My wife was sitting with me at Johns Hopkins at the audiologist's office and she had programmed the cochlear implant and my wife turned to me and just asked me, "Can you hear me?" And it was the first time I'd heard her voice in so long we spent a good long time crying.

By the time we made it home that night, the first thing we did is run inside and we turned on some music and we were spending time just dancing in the living room.

I went over to pick up the telephone not knowing whether or not I'd be able to hear well enough to use the phone. I called my father, and I said, "Dad, this is Doug calling." And he said, "Doug, can you turn the music down?" As soon as he said that, he paused and he realized that his son was hearing again and we probably spent a good 45 minutes on the phone just sharing some sobs and tears.

That was the same type of reaction I had from my friends who had struggled with me during the hearing loss and tried so desperately to find answers and knowing that the answer for me was with the Clarion implant It was really a reason for great great celebration.

Donna Sorkin

Sigrid Cerf